Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Music for Comedy

This is Clarence Sinn's inaugural column for 1913, and it is given over to a letter and set of suggestions for a comedy, Vitagraph's "Four Days a Widow," from a reader. Sinn also provides a set of suggestions of his own to the Vitagraph two-reel drama, "Reincarnation of Karma."
We see many programs for heavy dramas in Music for the Picture and appreciate them, writes a contributor, but very few programs for comedies. Whey don’t more of these appear? I am sending the program I played for Vitagraph’s “Four Days a Widow,” and the reason I send it is because every musical number I have listed fits into the scene perfectly. Of course I played all of these from memory, which is almost necessary on account of the quick changes. (Quite necessary in my opinion. Ed.)

The picture business is on a steady rise here in the West, and the wise managers are realizing that to make the pictures “go” they must have musicians who can play the pictures. Our house her (The Majestic), will be enlarged in January from 450 seating capacity to 1,000; that’s going some for a town of 15,000, isn’t it? (Here follows the suggestions for music to picture.)

“Four Days a Widow.”

  1. “So Long Mary” until Helen reads note, then:
  2. “Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight,” then “Lonesome” until title: “In Springdale.”
  3. “Merry Widow Waltz.”
  4. “Summertime” till title: “In Chicago.”
  5. “Dear Delightful Women” (from “Balkan Princess”). “Automobile Honeymoon.”
  6. “Stein Song” (Bullards) till “Roses.”
  7. “Who Were You With Tonight?” until Jim drinks water, then:
  8. “How Dry I am” then back to “Who Were You With Tonight?”
  9. “Home Sweet Home” in march time until “At Party.”
  10. “Beautiful Lady” (from “The Pink Lady”) until Marjory tells Helen, husband has arrived.
  11. Agitato until Marjory’s exit, then
  12. “Beautiful Lady.”
  13. “I Want To Marry You” (from “The Early and the Girl”) then quick to:
  14. “I Got Rings On My Fingers.”
  15. Burlesque “Love Me and the World Is Mine.”
  16. Agitato (As Jim pleads with Marjory) then:
  17. “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now?” (from “Prince of Tonight”)
  18. “There’s No Girl Like Your Old Girl” until close.

Hoping these suggestions may be of some help, I am yours,

THOMAS BRUCE, Pianist and Organist,
Majestic Theater, North Yakima, Wash.

Many thanks, friend Bruce. Your program looks like a “catchy” one, and I have no doubt will be of value to many of our readers. I could have wished you would have given “stopping” cues—that is, cues for changing the music in each number, but after seeing the picture there should be no difficulty in fitting your excellent program to it.
“Reincarnation of Karma.”

I had the pleasure of viewing the “Reincarnation of Karma” (Vitagraph), and here append some suggestions for accompanying music:

  1. “Egyptian Love Dance” (by Prior), until title: “E’en ‘Neath the Splendor of the Eastern Sky.”
  2. First Reel.

  3. (Incantation) First part of “Sultan’s Dream” (by Bendix) until “Great Buddah Save Me,” etc.
  4. Isis (Greek intermezzo), play rather slowly until “A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, etc.
  5. “Vision of Salome” (by J. Bodewalt Lampe) until “Snake Thou Art and Snake Thou Shalt Become.”
  6. Agitato until close of reel
Second Reel.
  1. Any novelette or intermezzo until he begins smoking pipe.
  2. First part “Sultan’s Dream” until he awakes.
  3. Back to No. 1 (or any novelette) until “In India Leslie Becomes Engaged.”
  4. “In the Soudan” (Oriental music) until musicians exit.
  5. Novelette until change of scene.
  6. “Inman” until “The Ancient Temple.”
  7. “Star of India” (by Bratton) until “They Are Shown Qunitrate the Snake.”
  8. Mysterious until snake changes into woman.
  9. First part of “Sultan’s Dream” until “If You Would Break the Curse, Give Her This Amulet.”
  10. Isis (Greek intermezzo) until she puts amulet on neck; then slow down—ritard and diminish for 8 bars.
  11. Agitato until he lays her on the table.
  12. First part: “Sultan’s Dream,” start pp and increase; two scenes.
  13. Very pathetic until end of picture.

For the incantation (No. 2, first reel), the introduction to “Faust” will be appropriate. Play through two scenes; then first part of “Sultan’s Dream.”

Source: Clarence E. Sinn, “Music for the Picture,” Moving Picture World 18 January 1913, 254.